Adding ‘Complexity’ to the ‘Simplicity’ of Racist Constructions – and a rabbit that was not allowed to come out of the hat

‘I had a four-month long debilitating experience of this ‘deep and submerged’ racism while working with another non-profit organization whose claim to anti-racism, or ‘diversity’ (their name for it), was to hire a hijab-wearing woman as their receptionist. Perhaps I was the only Person of Color ever hired by them in a decision-making role (the Project Lead); and, it seemed they didn’t know what to do with me. I was honored when they offered me the job on the basis of my work with Surrey Muse, as well as my ideas about the project that I had earlier presented in their community consultation meetings, and so I was delighted to accept. Three other people were also hired at the same time to look after publicity, technical direction, and coordination of available resources. I was asked by the Project Manager to develop a plan on the basis of project mandate and the notes from community-consultation meetings. I worked full-time (and into overtime) for the next three weeks to research and develop our plan, that was then sent to the Project Manager and the other three hired staff. That’s when strangeness began, where two opposites were at work at the same time, and one could not know which one was operating when.’

via Adding ‘Complexity’ to the ‘Simplicity’ of Racist Constructions – and a rabbit that was not allowed to come out of the hat

Advertisements

Poet Joanne Arnott receives Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award 2017

Joanne and Wil to Write (Wil George)

Congratulations to Joanne Arnott for receiving the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award 2017. Joanne Arnott and Wil to Write (Wil George) who is a Coast Salish poet from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, were honored with the awards in the area of Literary Arts.

Jules, Joanne and Flora @ The Mayor’s Arts Awards
Photo by Stuart Campbell.

‘Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood author, poet and arts activist who has published over ten books of poetry and prose. Her first book of poetry, Wiles of Girlhood (Press Gang) won the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Award in 1992. Her latest title is Halfling Spring: an internet romance with illustrations by Leo Yerxa (Kegedonce Press 2014). Her essays and poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies.’ She is the Poetry Editor for EVENT Magazine, a Literary Adviser to Surrey Muse, and a founding member of the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast. More about Joanne is at the link below:
joanne-arnott-surrey-muse

Joanne’s blogs
joannearnott.blogspot.ca
josarnott.blogspot.ca

The annual Mayor’s Arts Awards recognize 20 established and emerging artists from different communities. The recipients receive a cash award.
Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Awards for 2017
..

‘Flightpaths: The Lost Journals of Amelia Earhart’ by Heidi Greco

Caitlin Press 2017

Heidi Greco’s Flightpaths is a captivating exposition into the story of Amelia Earhart (July 1897), the pilot, celebrity author and women’s rights advocate who disappeared in her bid to fly around the world over the equator in July 1937. This year, Heidi’s book commemorates the birth and the disappearance of that iconic woman.

In Flightpaths, Heidi takes us on a soulful and poetic flight of imagination exploring various possibilities in the scenario of Amelia’s disappearance. On the way, the reader experiences tiny explosions of delicate expressions where landing on ‘Howland, the tiny island’ is landing ‘on a hummingbird’s nest’ (dead reckoning, page 18); Amelia’s ‘fears of drowning’ rise like ‘a brook swelling after spring rains – the sweep of water across the window’s glass – rising, rising.’ (july 3, 20). And, at some places, it’s too compelling to just fly over:

‘Not just a mere dog.

More a man than the one
who murdered him.’
(remembering james the ferocious, poisoned, 36)

‘he said he’d buy me a plane
All I had to do
was say yes I do, I do,
All i had to do just
Do be do be do.’
(Gp and me; our story, 42)

‘This morn, I raised my hand to ask,
my silent keeper shook her head,
looked at her feet, walked away,
left me

a piece of fish, wet and raw
on my sodden rice.’
(news, unwanted, 55)

Heidi Greco has published a novella and five collections of poetry including ‘The Amelia Poems’ (Lipstick Press 2009) chapbook that Flightpaths builds upon. And in this, poems and creative prose items are woven into the mystery of the plot.

Most interesting aspect of this book is that the author takes the persona of her subject in order to explore it. The intriguing first-person fictionalized biographical narrative was earlier used by author Susan Crean to explore the life of another iconic woman in The Laughing One: A Journey to Emily Carr (HarperCollins 2001), and, it also had a precursor (Opposite Contraries: The Unknown Journals of Emily Carr and Other Writings). Susan’s The Laughing One was short-listed for three awards in 2001 including Governor General’s, and, it won the 2002 B.C. Book Prize and 2002 Hubert Evans. To me, these are good omens for Heidi’s Flightpaths.

This 96-page book makes for an effortless, smooth and fast read as it references herstory/history. Ordering information is below.

978-1-987915-47-1 / 1-987915-47-X
Paperback
5.5” x 8”, 96 pages
Paperback price: 18.00
caitlin-press.com/our-books/flightpaths

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
..

‘Those Nutritious Contraceptive Pills’ by Fauzia Rafique

The above image was being safe-kept in a folder named ‘ImagesForArticles’ with over twenty others, and that folder was not to be opened till perhaps 2020- yet here it is.

Last year, i copied this image from Facebook where it was being shared by my friends from around the world as a positive intervention in favor of a woman’s right to use contraceptives, the need for women to be enlightened, and as a way to resolve poverty. I again encountered it last week, this time it was the first item in a video collection of images about ‘today’s modern society’. In that context and if taken as irony it could work but no guarantees, so I stopped and made a comment:
Me: Pertinent, except for the first item that’s racist, classist and affirms colonial perspectives.
Friend: Are you saying that those issues don’t exist today?

Source: ‘Those Nutritious Contraceptive Pills’ by Fauzia Rafique

Getting the ‘name-thing’ out of the way

The booklaunch event of my novel The Adventures of SahebaN: Biography of a Relentlessc Warrior at Renaissance Books in New Westminster was a warm and inspiring event, thanks to Lavana La Brey (for having us), Nefertiti SheLa Morrisson (for hosting), Wendy Harris (for her vision about the novel), Valerie Parks, Franci Louann, Enrico Renz, Christopher Hamilton, Ibrahim Honjo, Sana Janjua, Idrian Burgos and Randeep Purewall.

Many interesting points came out during discussion; some required more time including the one about names that had also come up at the November 20th event at VG Playroom in Surrey. It expresses the thought that there are perhaps too many unfamiliar and difficult-to-pronounce names for the reader to deal with in both my novels, and if those could be made easier or replaced with more familiar names from the same cultural context, it’ll help the reader stay with the story.

Source: Getting the ‘name-thing’ out of the way